Wash. Times baselessly claimed Hastert's jet could fly nonstop to California "year-round"
Research ››› ››› SARAH PAVLUS
A February 9 Washington Times article by Rowan Scarborough and Charles Hurt flatly stated that the C-20, one of the military planes used by former House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert (R-IL) for domestic travel when he was speaker, "can make the nonstop flight year-round" to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's (D) California district from Washington, D.C. But media reports from the previous two days had reported that the C-20 cannot make it to California nonstop under all conditions. The article by Scarborough and Hurt did not attribute its contrary assertion about the flying range of the C-20 to anyone.
Capt. Herb McConnell, the spokesman for the 89th Airlift wing at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland, was quoted by ABC News two days earlier saying that the C-20 is "able to make a coast-to-coast flight at times during the year, but not when there are strong headwinds such as during the winter." Also, on February 8, the Los Angeles Times reported that the aircraft used by Hastert "require[d] ideal weather conditions to make the cross-country trip without stopping to refuel."
In its article, The Washington Times also reported that House Republicans were criticizing Pelosi for "demanding a perk reserved for the president and vice president and a few Cabinet members." As speaker of the House, Pelosi is second in the line of succession to the presidency behind Vice President Dick Cheney and ahead of all cabinet members. White House press secretary Tony Snow told reporters on February 8 that "as speaker of the House, she is entitled to military transport. ... We think it's appropriate."
From the February 9 edition of The Washington Times:
The 89th Airlift Wing at Andrews Air Force base operates three jets that can make the nonstop flight year-round: the C-32 (Boeing 757); a C-40 (Boeing 737) and the C-20, a Gulfstream jet.
As Media Matters for America noted, CNN's Lou Dobbs also falsely claimed Pelosi could use Hastert's jet to fly nonstop to California.